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Avoiding Census schemes

The Census is currently taking place, but some are taking advantage of the population count to trick people into giving away their personal information.

SAN ANTONIO — The 2020 Census started in March. The federal government asked citizens to mail, call or go online to fill out questions about who lives in their home.

The Census now is contacting people in three ways if you have not yet responded: in person, on the phone, or by email. Yet, the Federal Trade Commission warns some schemers could use this count as a way to get your personal information and use it for identity theft.

It is red flag if a census taker asks for you for these items:

  • a Social Security number
  • bank account
  • credit card numbers
  • money or anything on behalf of a political party.

Here is how to make sure an official census taker is contacting you:

Census takers are now visiting homes. Be aware that because of the pandemic, census takers will be wearing masks and social distancing when they come to your door. They will ask you several questions about who lives in your household. The census taker will want to know who was living in your home as of April 1, 2020. They will ask seven questions. They include information about household members

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Relationship to one another
  • Phone number and
  • If you own or rent

Go here to find out more about questions on the Census. The Census will not ask your citizenship status.

Ask for identification before you agree to answer any questions. A legitimate census taker will have one from the U.S. Department of Commerce with a photo, seal and expiration date. You can also ask for a supervisor’s contact information. Make a quick call to verify the censes taker’s identity.

The Census might also call you if you are not home when a census taker comes to your door. Calls will come from one of the Census Bureau’s contact centers or a field representative. Verify the Census Bureau is calling you by calling one of these numbers:

1-800-523-3205

1-800-642-0469

1-800-923-8282

Do not trust your caller ID. It is easy to fake numbers. Hang up if someone asks for your social security number or any financial information. Learn more here about verifying a call from the Census Bureau. 

The Census might also send you an email. It will come from 2020census@subscriptions.census.gov. It is important to note the last four characters should be dot g-o-v. Learn more about verifying an email from the Census Bureau here

Fact check information about the Census here

It is important to participate in the Census because it helps determine congressional representation and funding for schools, roads and services for your area, but do not let schemers use it as way to get your personal information. Learn more about the Census's impact on the community here

Call 800-932-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative if you suspect fraud. Also, file a report a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.